Here's a pic of me doing something I want to do even better ...
Be the guinea pig - learn, APPLY, share findings
New research on sleep is fascinating and something I am excited to explore
I am really excited to delve further into the world of sleep so I have decided to document the journey and share what I learn. I have already spent months implementing certain techniques and routines but it's time to ramp it up.
The things I share are all things we can do straight away and they are things we all have access to so I thought why not spread the word!
TIP NUMBER ONE
Get your eyes and/or ears around these!
I listened to Sleep Smarter and ended up buying the book as well to go back through it and highlight particular areas to focus on. Jam packed with plenty of great info, studies and things you can begin to change immediately. Highly recommend! This one is a very practical approach and I'd suggest reading this one first.
I have also recently finished Why We Sleep after listening to Matthew Walker's podcast with Joe Rogan #1109. Mind. Blowing! Listen to the podcast first and then get onto the book for more! Note: It starts with the topic of alcohol and drugs and the effect they have on sleep, but that isn't for long, stay with it.
Matthew Walker is a neuroscientist who has published over 100 scientific research studies and I don't know about you but I don't think there's anything better than a scientific study to strike a chord that inspires immediate change.
Everyone in my immediate circle has been subject to me rattling off the facts and studies in this book for the past two weeks. I hope that it quickly becomes a household book on every single human's MUST READ list. We can also give ourselves a break for not knowing this stuff sooner - we simply didn't have access to this kind of information. What a time to be alive! Get onto it.
TIP NUMBER TWO
Change your phone settings ASAP (for iPhones)
Go into your settings and apply the below changes straight away, if you haven't already. I implemented this over 12 months ago and it makes a HUGE difference. Now if I look at my phone or laptop after sunset I experience the same sleepiness as I do when looking at a campfire.
It makes you WANT to put your phone down.
Note: you MUST change it to the warmest setting. You will reaaaally dislike it for about a week but after your eyes and mind adjust you will despise blue lights at night.
I choose the Sunset to Sunrise schedule which matches to my location automatically - great feature!
You can also easily turn this feature on / off when you swipe to the control centre. Hold your finger down on the brightness control and the option will pop up.
If you're on an Android, my mate Google can help you out. Soz.
You can also, and should, apply these settings on your computer too. If they aren't an option in your settings you can download f.lux.
TIP NUMBER THREE
And then pretend you are camping every night after that.
This was a long exposure piccy taken last week whilst we were down the coast. The Milky Way was out in full force!
I love going away in the van and naturally falling asleep shortly after the sun sets and rising to the sound of birds and variance in temperature (nothing like a good sweat to get you out of bed and into the ocean early). Good for the mind, bod and SOUL.
We need to mimic this environment as much as possible to allow our sleepy hormones to do their thing. And a camping trip is a guaranteed way to make you realise just how wild the lights in our houses are. Quite the opposite of soft and warm. Unless you've already created this vibe - I know my Mum has been doing it forever but it's something we need to be extra vigilant with since the introduction of LED lights especially.
The downlights in my room and ensuite are horrendously bright at night. It's a similar feeling to being in a club at 4am when they turn the lights on... and your wild 18 year old self recoils like a vampire in the sun.
To fix this issue I was lighting candles at night, which worked a treat and created lovely ambient lighting, but unfortunately they didn't provide enough lumens to read a book. I also tried a salt lamp which wasn't bright enough either. I know some people love them. I am not one of those people.
So, recently I went to Kmart and bought two lamps. One for my bedside stump (yes literally a tree stump - man I sound like a hippy in this blog, it's a beautifully polished and painted tree stump by the way) and another small floor lamp for my bathroom.
After reading Why We Sleep and learning the max luminosity we should be exposed to at night I popped into a lighting shop over the weekend to get a more appropriate bulb. The lowest wattage they could find that also had a suitable base was 20W (the one I had was 28W) which was still far too bright. The shop assistant then found a warm freezer light (quite a small bulb) which was just 15W so I grabbed that one for my bedside lamp and it's purrfect. A great way to emulate the campfire vibes sans fire.
NOTE: Do not light a candle with any shelving nearby. I have a shelf in my ensuite below my mirror which is a good 30cm away from the flame and now the wood looks as though it has a nice knot in it... don't tell my landlord. Be safe. Safer than me.
TIP NUMBER FOUR
If you can't measure it, you can't manage it!
I downloaded the Sleep Cycle app and have been using it for the past week. Absolutely loving it! It's even more of an incentive to get to bed early and put everything I've learnt in the above tips (and all the tips inside those tips) into practice to see if I really am getting the best possible sleep.
Check out last night's sleep...
My best so far!
8hrs and 94% sleep quality, oh yeah!
TIP NUMBER FIVE
How long should we sleep for?
I listened to a talk by Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology at the Institute of Medical Psychology, and he offered a wonderful analogy about the sleep cycle.
His video was the reason for the below experiment. Have a watch of his talk here, starts at 0:48.
So, how long should we sleep for? This is something I have been testing the past week and I HIGHLY encourage you to do the same in order to work out how much YOU need.
I know that I feel refreshed after a 7.5hr - 9hr sleep so to determine how much sleep my body really needs I decided to begin tracking my sleep with the Sleep Cycle app but not setting an alarm.
Something I haven't done for maybe hmmm the past 10-15 years (except on weekends)!
I have had a strict pre-bed routine in place for consistency. No screens after 8pm, reading until I am sleepy and aiming to go to sleep by 9pm. This is the routine I have been following this year so it's what my body is getting very used to, on weekdays. I clearly didn't adhere to these rules on Friday and Saturday night though as you will see - because who needs rules on weekends.
Note: The Sleep Cycle app records your 'time in bed', for me this is often 99% sleep as I usually drift off within a matter of seconds.
Wednesday: 9:00pm - 5:14am / 8:14 in bed
Thursday: 9:19pm - 4:56am / 7:37 in bed
Friday: 10:41pm - 6:01am / 7:20 in bed
Saturday: 11:40pm - 8:02am / 8:21 in bed
Sunday: 9:57pm - 6:15am / 8:18 in bed
I could have waited a full week to share my results but I was too excited - in saying that, I will keep updating as I go.
Already I can see a trend. 7:30hrs equates to 5 full sleep cycles and I think it's quite clear that my body needs that as a minimum.
What I am absolutely LOVING is preparing myself and my environment for sleep and then allowing my body to call the shots. Our bodies are designed to wake up naturally when they have done all they need to do, so why don't we let them?
This morning I posted 3 polls on Instagram
85% use an alarm to wake up
15% don't use an alarm
54% get 7.5hr sleep or more each night
46% get less than 7.5hr each night
26% wake up feeling refreshed
74% don't wake up feeling refreshed
Wherever you sit in this data, I think all of us can be more educated on what our body needs. I hope you can be inspired by my obsession! It will help every area of your life.
-Anyway, that's enough for now. There are about 100 other things I am doing at the mo' but I will share them later. Get to work. Or perhaps I should say, work less and GET TO SLEEP!